Get crafty at Love Thy Neighbour

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Get crafty at Love Thy Neighbour

Real beer, delicious food, and live music

“The first time I stepped inside here, it was just concrete,” says the man-in-charge, Simon Wibberly as he gestures at Love Thy Neighbour's interior. It’s moody inside. The low light picks off white mosaic tiles; and wrap-around counters serve as resting space for elbows and beers.

Concise design elements combine with the chandelier hanging from the rafters to make this ex-church a stylish haunt for those with a thirst for the good life. Yes, church. “We built this bar as a shrine to our beer,” laughs owner Brad Armitage. “It’s also been a house of ill repute.”

Outside is where most of the beer-worshipping goes on. Picture this; long wooden tables, cobblestones, stone walls, table tennis, and the young and upwardly mobile generally cavorting. I say young, but today I see a pair of women on the far side of 50 sipping beer and giggling. It’s just that kind of place to experiment, play, and challenge ideas about what good beer really is.

They specialise in a range of craft beers (sourced from a family-run brewery in Germany). The modus operandi is self-service; your lager will be delivered to your table, but you order at the counter. 

110 Bree Street | St Stephens Church | Cape Town | + 27 (0)21 4222770

You can also purchase the range of five beers to enjoy at home. Not just a watering-hole, Love Thy Neighbour serves up some of the best grub in Cape Town. The menu - an alignment with their beer ethos - plays host to a range of artisan cured meats, organic produce, and beer-inspired dishes, such as the minestrone soup made with Berne Unfiltered Amber Lager

They’re famous for the beef Prego, as well as the pulled pork; luscious sandwiches that are the perfect match for complex beer. Open at 7am, they serve bang-up breakfasts too: think organic eggs and farm-cured bacon. “We also make great coffee,” says Brad. “Organic beans, organic milk, and even organic sugar. The only thing that isn’t organic is the water.”

Over one such frothy cup, I meet Gemma Smith. A trained sommelier, she’s ditched fine dining stuffiness in favour of beer salon chill. Her unofficial title is beer secretary, although wine is primarily her focus. Since her arrival, Love Thy Neighbour has hosted complimentary wine tasting evenings; they just ask that you book.

“You’ll discover wines you wouldn’t be able to taste by just visiting the farm,” Gemma says in her English accented lilt. “Not standard wines at all, but garagiste finds, and sought after vintages."

“Did you know there’s someone making a Syrah in his house on Ocean View Drive in Green Point?” she asks. “That’s our aim; to promote unique wines.” The tastings take place every Tuesday and Thursday at 6pm.

These wine evenings are very much what Love Thy Neighbour is all about; adding value to your experience. Brad tells me that initially people were put off by the price of the beer (double what you’d pay for a commercial lager), but that once people understand what they’re drinking, misconceptions fall away, and the extra value that comes with the product is unbeatable. Think live music nights at no entrance fee, wine tastings, free Wi-Fi, and then there’s the table tennis.


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